Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams
Praise for Voice
"A smart fellow...I do like, recommend and learn from Barbera's blog." -Roger L. Simon
"Your blog is bullshit"- anonymous angry French reader.
Is Hillary really thinking about '04? Hmmm. Let's put some pieces of the puzzle into place before passing judgment here. Why now? What is happening politically in the Democrat party and in the GOP? And what does she (or her party or allies) stand to gain from this? Let's put this 'announcement of consideration' into its proper provenience.
First. On the Republican side. George Bush is on the verge of taking the issue of Africa away from the Democrats. All of those who have called for us to work with the UN and other NGO's may be left holding an empty basket as Bush comes in and takes charge and cowboys his way to actual change and reform in Africa. Taking head on the issues of AIDS and dictators (in the form of Taylor and Mugabe). Doing this will take away some of the press time that Bush is getting while on his Africa trip. Anything he announces will be sharing time with a "Hillary Watch".
There are still accusations the Bush 'misled' (read: lied to) America but, I think time will destroy this accusation and I think it would be stupid for Hillary (something she is not) to assume that this issue will still be on the table in another few months (plus the fact that polls are not showing the accusations to be all that harmful).
But, I think it is the Democrat side of this equation that is more important.
Next on the Democrat side. Primary season is gearing up to hit full speed in the next couple of months. The candidates will be out trying to collect big money in that time. What does this do to them? First, big donors will want to wait and see what she is going to do before writing their checks. This is going to force the pool of candidates to battle hard for the dollars that are up for grabs. A battle that could leave them all weakened and somewhat hurting for cash. Making a possible move by Hillary that much easier now or hurt the Dem hopefuls enough that she wouldn't have to worry about sitting out the '08 in deference to a sitting Democrat President.
Which brings this into a bit more focus. Who right now is getting the big Left-Wing Dollars? Who is getting a lot of news coverage and support from the hard-Left base? And who did that candidate just say he wants out of power? Ahhhhh. Howard Dean. I think too many conservatives are sitting on their laurels and assuming Dean would be a cakewalk for Bush. I don't know. It seems to me that the only person that can do Dean in is himself. He comes across bad, hasn't handled the debates or media very well. But this early neither did George W. Bush. And the media will not go after Dean to amplify any misunderestimations. While there are questions about his national securities issues there is a possible running-mate that can disarm those questions. We may know Wesley Clark is not all that his resume may say but, do you think the vast mass of moderate voters who only pay nominal attention know this? Or do you think they will see the Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and think "Now this is a man who knows how to keep us safe"? I think such a choice would go a long way to softening up those moderates and even go toward picking up some of those Southern votes.
Right now Dean has the support of all the people that are most closely aligned with Hillary. Hollywood and the hard-left (except for the furthest fringe who belongs to Kucinich) are out in force and carrying the load for Dean. They are the 'cause-heads'. They buy into whatever populist neo-Marxist crap is being doled out. And Dean is doling quite a bit. But, these are Hillary's people and she cannot be happy that they now belong to Dean. What if Dean falls just short in '04 but has gained enough support and built enough of a base to aim for '08? Hillary will be forced into a battle in '08 to get those people away from him. And then there is the matter of Terry McAuliffe. Dean, who is riding a high right now, flush with new dollars the moveon.org polls (maybe meaningless but, the media loved it) and glowing coverage among the elite media organizations. McAuliffe is the Clinton's man. They own the deed to his soul and that of his first-born. He is there to make sure the party remains the party of the Clintons (he can lead the party to a stunning mid-term defeat and pay no price but he must keep the seat warm for Hillary). And Deano with all of that newfound prestige and political capital wants him gone. Hillary cannot have that. There is no guarantee at this point that she could put her own lackeys in place if that happens which would leave her vulnerable now and in '08. She has very few true friends inside the party, she really only has those who see her as a vehicle an ally to use and ride to victory. And if those in the party machinery who see her as their ticket to power no longer see her in that light, she is done. All of the work all of the campaigning all of the shit she had to put up with in her personal life to get where she is would have all been for nothing.
So, I am thinking this is a pre-emptive strike against Dean. She wants him gone. She wants a bland Kerry or Leiberman or Gephart out there. Candidates who can only temporarily lay claim to the hearts and minds of the true-left. While Hillary has tried to play the centrist while in the Senate Dean has set up camp on her Left. Dean threatens this balance, and Hillary cannot have it.
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